Dollar for dollar: a discussion into small business incentives

Dollar for dollar: a discussion into small business incentives

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - From Small Business Saturday to small business sidewalk sales, the City of Myrtle Beach is pushing for incentives to grow small businesses in the city. Now, there is discussion over a year-round initiative to keep taxpayers' money within the city.

At a City Council Workshop, members discussed a small business initiative.

John Cowan has been working as the city's purchasing manager for just over six months. In that time, he has created and presented multiple incentives to council as part of an effort to connect local businesses to the City of Myrtle Beach.

The goal of the program is to enhance business opportunity for eligible small businesses; independently owned and operated, a business licensed taxpayer, 20 employees or less, with a gross of less than $1 million dollars. In addition, the business owner must complete a vendor application identifying a city location.

Part of the effort is to revise a purchasing incentive to allow dollar for dollar credit to every general contractor with a bid that includes qualified small businesses.

During the workshop this example was given of how it would work:

-General Contractor A bids $990,000 for a city construction project, does not include small business participation

- General Contractor B bids $1,000,000 for the same contract, but includes $15,000 in small business participation

-For the purpose of analyzing, the bid of $15,000 is subtracted from B's bid

-B is awarded the bid based on the comparison of A to B (with the small business credit)

This opened up a conversation between councilmemberss on each side of the argument.

Councilman Wayne Gray expressed, “I understand the trade-off, but you are still paying more for a contractor.”

The mayor responded, “But, you're giving the money back to a local business to stay in business.”

Councilman Mike Lowder joined the conversation and said, “It is still paying with taxpayer money, an additional $200,000 to give this to a local business than to someone else. I think this needs more discussion.”

The council agreed that more discussion was needed and decided to put the first reading of the ordinance on the next council agenda.

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